United Airlines sees a supersonic future

United Airlines hopes to bring back supersonic travel before the end of this decade

United Airlines aims to bring back supersonic travel before the end of the decade with a plane that has yet to be built.

The airline on Thursday said it plans to buy 15 jets from Boom Supersonic, once the start-up company designs an aircraft that flies faster than the speed of sound while meeting safety and environmental standards.

United declined to discuss the terms of the deal, including how much cash it would put into the deal.

Several companies are working to come up with new supersonic jets that will be more economical on fuel — and create fewer climate-changing emissions — than the Concorde.

Boom is working to develop an aircraft it calls the Overture, which will be the first supersonic airliner to fly on so-called sustainable fuel.

The Denver company said the planes would be capable of speeds up to 1.7 times the speed of sound, or about 1,300 mph. It is slower than the Concorde, but much faster than current airliners, which have cruising speeds of around 500 mph or slightly higher.

United said flights between the London and New York area would be just three-and-a-half hours, and Tokyo would be only six hours from San Francisco.

BOOM expects a plane to be tested by the middle of this decade and will be carrying airline passengers in 2029.

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said technological advances make it more feasible for the airline to include supersonic aircraft in its fleet.


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